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Prominent valley investors Naval Ravikant and Balaji Srinivasan invest in Koo, Tiger Global likely to lead next round

Koo co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishnan confirmed to Moneycontrol that Ravikant, who was an early investor in Twitter and Clubhouse, and Srinivasan, invested in the company last month.

April 01, 2021 / 10:03 PM IST
Founded in March 2020 by Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, Koo can be used to express views and opinions on various topics much like Twitter.

Founded in March 2020 by Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka, Koo can be used to express views and opinions on various topics much like Twitter.


Prominent Silicon Valley Investors Naval Ravikant and Balaji Srinivasan have invested in India's Twitter alternative Koo. In addition, investment giant Tiger Global is in talks to lead its next round, at a valuation of over $100 million, according to sources familiar with the development.


Koo co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishnan confirmed to Moneycontrol that Ravikant, who was an early investor in Twitter and Clubhouse, and Balaji Srinivasan, invested in the company last month.


However, he did not disclose the investment both had made in the firm. An email seeking comments from Ravikant and Balaji did not get a response till the time of writing this story.


The source has also said that existing investors in Koo have also expressed interest to participate in the current round and also a couple of family offices from India. Its existing investors include Accel, Blume Ventures and Kalaari Capital - all investors in Radhakrishna's previous venture TaxiForSure, and content firm Vokal.


On the investment round, Radhakrishna said, “We are constantly in touch with various financial investors who are interested to partner in our vision. We do not want to comment on any speculation.” Tiger Global did not response to an email seeking comments on the investment round.


Koo does not make any money yet, a fact that doesn't seem to be affecting investor interest in the social media firm.


On the monetisation front, Radhakrishna said the company is exploring advertising and multiple other innovative India specific ideas.


Founded in March 2020, the homegrown micro-blogging platform has been gaining traction over the last few months. Close to 5 million users have downloaded Koo. The interest has also come on the back of increased friction between the Indian government and Twitter. Union ministers such as Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Prakash Javedkar joined the platform.


Political leanings are becoming a salient but key factor in whether a social network can succeed in India, and Koo may be on the right side.


Investors think Koo can have a trajectory similar to Parler, a social media platform in the US which catered to Trump supporters and grew to a billion dollar valuation.


"There is space for a neutral or right leaning social media network. People want to sometimes have simple interactions within their own circles and echo chambers. Koo can provide that. And the founders have shown the ability to build, so investors will always be interested," said an investor tracking the company, requesting anonymity.


Last month, Chinese investor Shunwei Capital exited Bombinate Technologies, the company that owns micro-blogging platform Koo, as existing investors and other Indian individuals bought the Chinese investor’s minority stake in the company. Bombinate Technologies also owns Vokal, a vernacular knowledge sharing app.


Shunwei Capital’s stake accounted for about 9 percent in Bombinate Technologies.


Prominent Individuals who participated in the buyout include former Indian cricketer Javagal Srinath, BookMyShow Founder Ashish Hemrajani, Udaan Co-Founder Sujeet Kumar, Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and Zerodha Founder Nikhil Kamath.

The CapTable reported the deal development earlier in the day.
Swathi Moorthy
M. Sriram
first published: Apr 1, 2021 10:03 pm

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